BSS (inc. billing, revenue assurance)

Eurobites: Vodafone's Billing Is Shocking, Say UK Customers

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Tesco offers mobile ads for bill discounts; Russia settles with Google over app pre-loading issues; our thumbs are getting fatter.

  • Vodafone UK 's billing system is in disarray, prompting thousands of customer complaints, according to a report on consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com. Since the mobile operator moved to a new billing platform last year complaints from customers have soared -- it now attracts more than three times as many complaints as its rivals, according to Ofcom figures cited by the website. Problems include badly set up direct debits, people being put on the wrong tariffs and poor customer service. MoneySavingExpert.com is now urging all Vodafone customers to check their bills immediately.

  • Tesco Mobile, the MVNO run by the UK's largest retailer, is offering its customers the chance to have a few pounds knocked off their bills if they download Unlockd, an app that displays adverts when users unlock their phones. As the Financial Times reports (subscription required), pay-monthly customers can have a £3 (US$4.34) discount off their bill if they submit to the app -- which could equate to a 40% reduction on their monthly bill for some users. Previous efforts to reward customers for tolerating ads on their phones, including one from Samba Mobile, have met with limited success, reports the FT.

  • Russia's competition watchdog is exploring an out-of-court settlement with Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) over what it sees as the search giant's unfair market manipulation, reports Reuters. The watchdog, FAS, ruled last year that Google had acted illegally by requiring the pre-installation of certain apps on mobile devices running its Android operating system.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has officially inaugurated its fancy new R&D campus in Chatillon, on the outskirts of Paris. Orange Gardens, as the campus is known, has been built according to eco-friendly principles and will be home to more than 3,000 employees from seven sites in the Ile-de-France region. Check out this video (in French, with subtitles), which gives an idea of the Gallic funkiness of the place...

    Discover Orange Gardens by Orange

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has unveiled its Central Europe Mobility Atlas (CEMA) system, which collects and analyzes large amounts of traffic and anonymous mobility data from a range of sources with a view to easing traffic congestion in the region. The operator says that CEMA, which has been initially developed and tested in the Czech Republic, is an important compenent of its overall smart cities program.

  • Soccer's European Championships start tomorrow in France, with England hot favorites for the title. But the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels mean that a fear of further atrocities lurks in the background of the tournament, prompting the French government to launch an app to alert users to potential incidents. As Reuters reports, the app, called SAIP, flashes a warning on a fan's mobile phone screen if an imminent threat has been detected by the authorities.

  • Mobile phones are making our thumbs bigger. Or one of our thumbs. That's the shocking finding of a report from Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), which reveals that the thumb on users' "swiping hand" is on average 15% larger than their other one. Not only that: 8% of the population report that they have developed an "indent" in their little fingers from the way they hold their phones. Eurobites will bring you more of the latest game-changing phone-related research just as soon as it's made up.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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